A new era of sunshine dawns in trustee races

This year’s Boise school board election is a first.

And that’s good news for political geeks who like to crunch numbers.

David Wagers color
David Wagers

The three candidates will have to file campaign finance reports — which have never been required for school board races.

The 2015 Legislature passed a law requiring trustees’ candidates to file sunshine reports, at least in larger districts with more than 500 students. However, the law didn’t go into effect until July 1, 2015 — or after Idaho’s May 19 school election date.

Beth Oppenheimer Photograph
Beth Oppenheimer

But since Boise operates under a governing charter that predates statehood, the district operates on its own election calendar. Boise holds its trustee elections in September on even-numbered years. This year’s election will be held on Sept. 6, the Tuesday after Labor Day.

The first sunshine reports will be due on Aug. 30, a week before the election. This timetable mirrors the pre-election reports required in statewide and legislative races. The trustee candidates are required to file a post-election report by Oct. 3 and an annual report by Jan. 31.

Monica Walker
Monica Walker

Incumbent David Wagers and challengers Beth Oppenheimer and Monica Walker are running for school board. The top two vote-getters will be elected to six-year terms.

In the meantime, the candidates are touting endorsements on their social media platforms and campaign websites.

Wagers and Walker have backing from the Boise Education Association, the district’s teachers’ union.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has endorsed Oppenheimer and Walker.

Oppenheimer also has rounded up a long list of endorsements — including support from former Gov. Cecil Andrus, former Boise district Superintendent Stan Olson and eight Boise Democratic legislators.

More reading: Click here to learn more about the Boise trustees’ candidates.